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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jan;69(1):115-9.

Early childhood anemia and mild or moderate mental retardation.

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Department of Psychology, University of Miami, FL 33136, USA.



Previous studies questioned the link between early childhood anemia and detrimental child development.


A population-based study was conducted to examine the association between early childhood anemia and mild or moderate metal retardation at 10 y of age.


The present study linked early childhood nutrition data collected by the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and school records. Hemoglobin values were used to determine the relation between anemia in early life and children's placement in special education classes for mild or moderate mental retardation. Subjects were all participants in the WIC program. A computer program was used to link data from birth, WIC, and school records.


Logistic regression showed an increased likelihood of mild or moderate mental retardation associated with anemia, independent of birth weight, maternal education, sex, race-ethnicity, the mother's age, or the child's age at entry into the WIC program.


These findings support the proposition that efforts to prevent mild and moderate mental retardation should include providing children with adequate nutrition during early childhood.

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